Lord Nelson, the second favorite in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, was scratched Thursday morning after a cut on the 4-year-old colt’s leg became infected.
The horse, with seven wins in 13 starts, was 5-2 on the morning line, just behind Masochistic at 2-1.
“He got a little nick a couple of days ago and it became infected,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “We had to treat him with antibiotics so he won’t be able to run. But he’s going to be all right.”
The scratch sets up an interesting matchup between Masochistic and now second favorite Drefong, a 3-year-old trained by Baffert. Mike Smith was the regular rider for Drefong but elected to switch horses and ride the more experienced Masochostic, a 6-year-old gelding.
“For this race, and only this race, I thought Masochistic was the horse to ride,” Smith said. “Drefong, a 3-year-old, hasn’t run against older horses. These are really good older horses. Really, really fast. Masochistic on this race track is phenomenal when he runs his race. His numbers are just higher.”
The six-furlong Sprint will be the sixth Breeders’ Cup race on Saturday.